Two Paths towards Agile Leadership

Photo of Sohrab Salimi
Sohrab Salimi

Reading time
6 Minutes

Nearly every leader wants their organization to be agile because they know that the rules of business have changed. The speed of innovation is the only remaining competitive advantage.

Almost every leader supports operational innovation in their organization e.g. the introduction of certain tools, be it Salesforce or SAP to make business as usual run more efficiently. Many leaders drive product innovation e.g. improving existing products through the use of modern technology and software. But only very few leaders move far enough to innovate on strategy and business models e.g. moving towards recurring revenues or vertical integration.

All of these types of innovation are impactful, but the most impactful type is management innovation i.e. how we run our organization including ourselves, our teams, and the organization as a living system.

Our Agile Leadership Curriculum is all about this most impactful type of innovation. We want to share with you what we have learned from some of the most amazing organizations and leaders in the world e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Haier, Apple, Google, Buurtzorg, Southwest Airlines, Nucor, and many many more.

As we know that people learn very differently we offer our Agile Leadership Curriculum in two different ways: live-online or fully self-paced online courses. Each of these approaches has their benefits and drawbacks. This article helps you choose the right path for yourself.

Why Agile Leadership matters

The world is changing at an exponential pace and organizations realize they need more agility. Now, what does that mean? How can an organization be agile? Is it the teams doing Scrum or Kanban? Is it the leaders adopting a certain mindset? Is it the products changing faster? We believe it’s all of those and more.

An agile organization is an organization that can change as fast as change itself. It’s an organization where innovation is the work of everybody, all the time, and everyday. And last but not least, it’s an organization where everyone can bring the gifts of their creativity, initiative, and passion to work.

I bet that most of these characteristics are not true for your organization today. So what do you do now? How can you move forward?

Probably your organization has already started to help people become Scrum Master and Product Owner. Probably your organization has had Kanban boards installed. Probably your organization is or was trying to adopt the Spotify Model. And probably, your organization has started to implement OKRs to set goals on a quarterly basis. All of these initiatives are good things to start with… but they are not sufficient.

We believe that an agile organization is not only a place where agile leaders emerge, it is a place built by agile leaders. And that’s where we come in to help 😉

History of Management

How to become an Agile Leader

For the past decade we have been working with individuals, teams, and organizations on improving their ability to respond to fast market changes. We have supported them in building structures and behaviors that result in more customer centricity and continuous improvement on the products they build and the way they work.

With each project we became more and more aware and convinced that it’s ultimately the leaders in an organization that need to be not only on board, but actually driving the transformation. We also realized that most leaders are hesitant to be in the driver seat as they don’t possess the skills necessary. They simply don’t know how to do it… which in many cases results in them hiring consultants who don’t know how to do it either.

Working closely with our clients has helped us build the experience, knowledge, and skillset to create a truly unique agile leadership curriculum that can help leaders systematically drive their organization’s agile transformation. You can learn this curriculum through two different paths.

Our Scrum Alliance Certified Agile Leadership® Training

We at Scrum Academy offer the full suite of Scrum Alliance Certified Agile Leadership® training. Participants of our multi-day live-online or in-person training will receive the Certified Agile Leader – Essentials, Certified Agile Leader – Teams, and Certified Agile Leader – Organizations certification.

Our training is unique as it is not only a bunch of different models being mixed together and taught. All three topics “How you lead yourself”, “How you lead a team”, and “How you lead an organization” are well connected. The models and tools we teach are carefully selected so that you can not only learn but easily apply them in your context.

The training is also rich with case studies (currently more than 10) from organizations all over the world and in various industries. These case studies inspire you and also help you take concrete action when you return to your organization. These case studies are also great stories you can take and share with your colleagues to build a coalition for your transformation.

In addition to learning from the trainer, you will also learn a lot from other participants as you do a lot of work in smaller groups – this applies to both in-person and live-online training.

One downside, there are only a few dates per year and you need to commit at least two full days of work to participate in the class… which leads us to our second paths towards Agile Leadership.

Our Scrum Academy Self-Paced Online Agile Leader Course

Similar to the training described above, this course contains our knowledge and experience of more than a decade working closely with clients all over the world. Due to the format, it actually allows us to go even deeper. Let me describe how it works.

Our Self-Paced Online Agile Leader Course goes way beyond just being a collection of videos. It is a true curriculum that helps dive super deep into the topic of agile leadership and also challenges you to practice agile leadership behavior to ultimately build the habits and mindset.

Similar to our training we describe various models and tools in a simple and highly visual way. The big benefit, you get to watch the video as often as you want. Other than the videos, you will receive a workbook with exercises, questions for your reflection, concrete tipps on next steps, and many case studies.

Beyond that, there will be deep dives i.e. additional videos, articles, book recommendations, case studies, and other resources that help you explore the topics of your specific interest in more depth.

In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, you will also be able to take the course whenever, wherever, and however you want. You do not have to block multiple days out of your busy schedule. Be it early mornings, lunch breaks, evenings, or weekends the course is always available to you.

Last but not least, due to the format we can offer the Self-Paced Online Agile Leader Course at a fraction of the cost. So instead of €2.500 (net) for the live-online or in-person training, you can purchase the course for €500 (net). In case you want to sign-up your whole leadership team we can also talk about volume discounts.

One more thing

No matter which paths you select, you won’t become an agile leader just by attending the training or watching the videos. You will need to practice. You will need to work on yourself. You will need to apply the tools in order to master them.

From this perspective, the Self-Paced Online Agile Leader Course has tremendous benefits as it is in most cases over a longer period of time and through that helps you learn the topic in a more sustainable way. Still, you need to do the work.

Let us know if you have any questions and our team at Scrum Academy is more than happy to help you find the right path for you.

My best,

Related articles

Leading an Agile Transformation

Learn how to Lead an Agile Transformation with these tipps from our agile leadership trainer Sohrab Salimi!

The agile ministry: An Interview with Sebnem Andresen

Can a ministry be agile? Yes, says our interview partner and Work4Germany Fellow Sebnem Andresen.

What is an Achiever Leader?

Learn from us why achiever leadership matters and what makes you an achiever leader. Read more about leadership at Agile Academy!